A settlement between Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Giuffre and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein - that lawyers believed could release the Prince from being sued - will now remain a secret according to a judge ruling.
Sealed document in Prince Andrew case will remain a secret
Prince Andrew’s lawyer asked the New York judge, Lewis A Kaplan, to keep the 2009 document sealed. They also believe the settlement could protect Prince Andrew from the current lawsuit which claims the Duke of York sexually assaulted Giuffre on three occasions in 2001 when she was a minor under US law.
The lawyer representing Prince Andrew, Attorney Andrew Brettler, has revealed he is now drawing up paperwork that hopes to get the case nullified. He also hopes to include, under seal, a copy of the agreement that would supposedly ‘release Prince Andrew and others from any purported liability arising from the claims Ms Giuffre asserted against Prince Andrew here.’
Brettler also requested that any arguments he made that revealed the document’s details be redacted.
According to Brettler, neither Prince Andrew nor Virginia Giuffre has contested the document to be kept secret, as it is also under a protective order from a judge ruling over a different federal civil action case in New York.
A pretrial hearing in the case against Prince Andrew will be held next week, while the pretrial itself is set for July 2022. It was also announced this week that Prince Andrew is expected to answer questions under oath for the pretrial. However, he can choose not to answer any questions that could be self-incriminating.
Why is Prince Andrew being sued?
Virginia Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts, is suing Prince Andrew for damages after accusing the Duke of sexually assaulting her multiple times when she was just 17.
Giuffre was a victim of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, who had ties to many of the world’s wealthy and famous and even had a friendship with Prince Andrew. In her accusations, Virginia reveals that she was trafficked to England and forced to have sex with Prince Andrew at the flat of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend, after going nightclubbing.
However, this wasn’t the only incident as Giuffre alleged she was also sexually assaulted by Prince Andrew two other times: once on Epstein’s Little Saint James Island and once more in Epstein’s New York mansion.
Prince Andrew has denied all allegations.
Prince Andrew’s legal team have been trying to invalidate the lawsuit ever since it was initially filed back in August, and British police have announced they wouldn’t be taking any action against the Duke.
However, the case is still going ahead in the US, with a supposed witness even willing to testify in support of Giuffre.